Faulty Computer Circuit May Be Cause

Photo courtesy of
‘emergency only – push to talk’
courtesy of ‘nevermindtheend’

Preliminary reports coming from the NTSB investigation of Monday’s Metrorail crash are indicating they’ve located a faulty computer circuit along that particular stretch of track. While the officials are reluctant to say it’s broken, they have indicated there were several “anomalies” coming from one particular circuit. According to a WTOP report on the air this morning, an internal WMATA memo indicated that the computer system may have sent the “all clear” signal instead of a “train ahead, all stop” one. An “all clear” signal would accelerate the train to the track’s top speed; in this area, it’s 59 mph.

When at that speed, the operator may not have seen the stopped train ahead in time for the emergency brakes to stop the six-car train. Fully loaded trains of that length weigh around 300 tons and need a good distance to brake.

Metro is still running trains on manual control, which gives the operators greater control over their cars. They will be working in such a mode for the foreseeable future.

The NTSB continues to stress their investigation may take over a year before arriving at a conclusive result and that the anomalies are only one discovery so far in their preliminary work.

Having lived in the DC area for ten years, Ben still loves to wander the city with his wife, shooting lots of photos and exploring all the latest exhibits and galleries. A certified hockey fanatic, he spends some time debating the Washington Capitals club with friends – but everyone knows of his three decade love affair with the Pittsburgh Penguins.

A professional writer, gamer, photographer, and Lego enthusiast, Ben remains captivated by DC and doesn’t plan on leaving any time soon.

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